National Parks National Friends


am I the queen of waiting months to talk about summer adventures? yes, i am and i’m okay with being the queen of this because i really just want to be the queen of something.

this summer my wonderful friend miriam and i loaded up her car with our camping gear, all the food we managed to scrounge out of our pantries and we headed west. i think all my best adventures have been poorly prepared for and not to say we are poor planners but we are definitely poor planners. the first thing we forgot was water bottles so a good portion of our trip we drank water out of tin cups from the emergency jug we brought. good thing winging it brings me the absolute most joy because we were flying high on the wings of it.

we knew we wanted to see glacier national park and we knew we wanted to visit her brothers in idaho but basically everything else on this trip we decided to do in the moment. our first unplanned stop was the bad lands. its a national park thats incredible underrated and one of my moms favorites. i honestly was shocked how much i loved it. we only spent a day exploring it and i’ve been itching to go back ever since. such a strange/beautiful place i just had no idea about. thanks south dakota!

next we drove to devils tower. (spits on fingers.) it was incredibly hot and honestly all i did was stare at it and wonder how people climb it. and why they do because it was so freaking hot. very neat, very bizarre.

side note: if you ever have questions about keeping the cost of trips like this low, the answer is peanut butter and oatmeal.

the drive across montana was flat and boring but once we saw the mountains my chest was squeezey for hours. driving into the park my face was plastered to the window the whole time we were there. i have never seen anything that big. i’ve told everyone that glacier is not the first national park you should visit because it will ruin all of the other ones. it was beautiful and i feel silly trying to describe it past that. i loved everything about it, even the bears.

speaking of bears we had a nice little visit from a mama and cup exploring our camp early one morning and after flighting my way out of the cocoon of sleeping bag and hammock, i watched them mosey on through everyone’s tent sites on their way out. the other campers had no idea and that still makes me giggle.

we hiked and explored and climbed on rocks and spotted more bears and bighorn sheep. we talked about hikes we wanted to do when we come back listened to snippets of conversations on the trails and made a list of the crazy things we heard. some of my favorites we recorded were, “…when my parents were night skiing…” and, “I thought McDonalds was up this way a mile…” and “how did they know we owned a subaru?!” and finally, “Dad! Remember when i was dancing around and i fell right here!?”

other favorite moments from glacier involved miriam’s brothers left us a note in a shotgun shell buried under a tree welcoming us to the park, us accidentally hiking miles and miles further than we thought but ending up at a beautiful (and huge) glacier, having old men count the laps i made around the campground while i was on the phone with caleb. they yelled on the eleventh lap that he must be cute and i yelled that he was.

we then drove to elk river idaho where we met the biggest family, stayed in miriam’s grandfather’s hunting cabin and hung out with her brothers joseph and silas. we rode four wheelers through the mountains and up to an old fire tower and we carved our initials into a shed with so many initials on it i was sure it was about to poke through the wood. we picked up snakes, adventured through the woods to find little waterfalls and picked crazy amounts of raspberries out of a junk yard.

joseph took us fishing for trout in the most freezing creek i’ve ever been in in my life. it was hands down my favorite part of the while trip, catching fish and freezing as we tried to walk on tip toes when it got above the waist. everything was going great until my foot went straight through and old beaver dam and i face planted in the frigid water. i started laughing so hard j had to pull me out by my flailing elbow. (have a mentioned how graceful i am?) i still have a huge scare up my shin.

we decided to leave idaho a day early so we could drive down to see yellowstone and though we didn’t see that many animals, we did pass i bison on the street and that was just enough for me because he was perfect. yellowstone was beautiful and smelly and i ate so many granola bars on the way through i should have been sponsored.

the drive home we stopped many times for kombucha and slept in the car every night. this is where i get a little sappy and tell you that miriam is not only a good friend, but a wonderful road buddy. we laughed at the fact that we had never actually hung out one on one before this trip but we decided to spend two weeks together in a car. boy i am so thankful we did. mir is good at asking questions and helping you think through things but then giving you hours to think through it on your own. one of the best things about this trip for me was how much time i got to spend in silence talking to Jesus. don’t be fooled though because ya girl also has the best taste in music and we broke and the kendrick at times and car danced across kansas. i love her. she is so fascinating to me because we are nothing alike but i could (and have) sit with her all day and never get sick of her. so thanks for the adventure miriam. you are one of a kind and i do in fact love you.

Posted on November 15, 2018 .

Cesia & Carlos | Wed

she is the tiniest little peanut i know. i met her in college and we've stayed friends for the past seven years. she makes me throw my head back in laughter and has introduced my to one of my favorite foods. i love this little woman fiercely and having the opportunity to shoot her wedding was nothing short of a dream. 

i think there were exactly four of us there that didn't speak spanish, but with a lot of wild hang gestures and laughing, we had the most fun photographing the day. I love shooting on the west coast and as beautiful as this day was, my very favorite moments were the times spent in sweet prayer as a family, the ceremony spoken in spanish, and a father daughter dance that left us all weepy. 

cesia and i talked about her wedding so many times in college. the things she would love to do, things she wouldn't do. when i showed up and saw succulents in her bouquet i squealed. it truly was a perfect day for them and remembering all these fun moments while i went through these photos deciding what to blog, gosh i'm just ready to do it all over again.

who wants to get married in california next? 

Posted on January 11, 2018 .

The Golden Coast | San Fran


we would do it all backwards now. we've talked about this a lot, coming out of being in the woods for almost a week and jumping right into a huge city was weird. we felt like weirdos. we weren't sure how to drive or talk to strangers and even though san fran was amazing, we know both of us were zoning out almost the whole time. 

we drove down rout 1 as far as santa rosa and stopped along the coast to dip our toes in the freezing pacific. we warmed up once we hit the volleyball capital of cali and ate the best fish tacos of my life. i would go back just for those...

we spent that night at the wonderful and a half linda stamps house and thats another reason i would go straight back to california. the mom soul of that lady is to die for and i loved her from the minute she squeezed me. 

our day in san francisco was amazing and full of food we should never eat. we saw alcatraz, walked around the pier and i ate a lot of bread. all good things and only a little i regret. we drove on lombard street and got the best manicure of our existence because like i said, we had been in the woods for a week. we made sure to see all the full house houses and rounded out our last day by waving goodbye to the ocean again. 

all this reminiscing has me ready for our next it summer yet? 

and here we are being cool... ^^

Posted on December 13, 2017 .

The Redwoods


let me state at the beginning of this that we actually never saw bigfoot. and we are both sad about it because there were so many maps portraying sitings. i feel gypped, is what i'm saying. 

the redwoods are amazing. (duh) we rolled into the avenue of the giants that night and got out of our car just to hug a tree. we ate an amazing dinner at the diner down the road from our air b&b and promptly fell into bed for one of the best sleeps of my life. we had decided to break up our camping with one night in a real bed and enjoy a real bathroom. it was totally worth it and the old motor lodge we stayed in was surprisingly clean! the bed was incredibly comfortable and the woman working the front desk looked for sure like she had seen a bigfoot in her day...but i was too chicken to ask. 

the next morning we slept in till seven and lazily made our way over to a cafe further down the road. that turned out to be the best meal i ate on this trip. i just love chorizo so much okay? our waitress was so kind and she told us about the founders tree falling when she was younger and how even though she was 2 miles away, it felt like an earthquake when it hit. she told us where to find it and we headed out for a day of exploring and hunting the sasquatch. (for the record, if you didn't get to watch our insta story that day i feel really, really sad for you. because it was hilarious and there might have been some sitings...)

its weird to think about now but we literally just walked around the woods for days looking up into the trees. i have no idea how many times we drove up and down the avenue, finding different big trees on the map. it was incredible. i wish with my whole heart we had a video of the moment we were driving on one of the backroads and alena yelled "HOLE!" and i swerved to miss a giant pothole in the road only to see a truck coming in the other lane when alena yelled "TRUCK!" and we swerved back. i hit neither one for the recored but for some reason the whole thing was hilarious and we didn't stop giggling about it for hours.

we also had an episode while we were exploring around the eel river. we had climbed down an embankment and crossed through the water to skip rocks on the bank of the other side. when we had started to head back to the car we spotted a little water snake swimming along with the current. honestly the thing was tiny but in alenas defense it did pop up under a rock looking at we gave the snake a wide girth as we walked back across the river and I'm not sure if she got spooked near the deep part but alena shot through water so fast that a wave of liquid swashed up around her backside and soaked her butt. when i tell you i was laughing hard i mean that i couldn't even get up the embankment. i was helplessly clinging to a root still in the water and if that snake had come after us i would have died because i couldn't move from laughter. it was one of the funniest things i've ever seen. 

we camped and ate chicken noodle soup that night and i know by the photos you'd think it was freezing but it really was the perfect camping weather. and speaking of weather, i feel like i need to give a shout out to california for that because both alena and i had probably the best hair week of our entire lives and sometimes i get a little sad knowing that i will never have my california hair here in tenneesee. its fine. i will be fine. 

again, here are way too many pictures and a few self indulgent video clips from our trip to the redwoods! 

Posted on October 11, 2017 .



i think yosemite is going to be that thing for me, that whenever i get stressed or overwhelmed i turn to alena and say, "you wanna go to yosemite??" 

i had dreamed about the day i would stand looking at half dome and the history in the rocks of yosemite. alena and i had talked about it so much and we decided that this was the summer. we were just going to bite the bullet and go. because yolo and all that. 

the valley was everything i imagined times one thousand. i literally cannot describe it. pictures will never do it justice and if i could take every person i know it would still never be enough. God blew my mind with his creation and i feel like that's an understatement. i really wanted to cry, because i felt like that would accurately describe all my feelings about seeing it in person but actually the only thing we did was laugh. we couldn't stop laughing really. and now i'm pretty sure that's what it will be like in heaven. 

i think we planned our trip like crazed women though, throwing things together kind of last minute and figuring things out on the fly. but my grandfather would be so proud of how safe we were when it came to all things bear and wildlife related. safety first and all that. we locked things in bear things and didn't leave any food in our tent. i've read a walk in the woods by bill bryson and his bear attack stories were enough to scare me into preservation. but look! we made eat, uneaten and here today! thanks so much bill.  

our first day we hiked to north dome and may lake, a total of (and unplanned) 15.4 miles (whoops!) and the views were incredible. i could have stayed up there all day just staring at a rock. ridiculous? maybe but you can never understand it unless you're standing in front of it. 

our second day we were so sore from hiking it was hard to stand up. so with giggles and a lot of pain we waddled around the valley and stretched out. we climbed to the base of yosemite falls, sat in our hammocks and wrote post cards to all our friends, and ended the day by bouldering in camp four. (the birth place of rock climbing) when i tell you that was living the dream, i'm not exaggerating one bit. it was so fun, no matter how sore we were! 

our camp site was a little outside the park and owned by two very crusty old brothers who were super helpful in tips for the park and getting us set up with our site. i had a great conversation with the older of the two one night but honestly couldn't tell you what we talked about because his headlamp was shining directly in my eyes which was making me laugh and i think thats really all i remember. 

if i could go back every year i would. i think alena would say the same. we turned out to be perfect camping buds and i grew a deeper appreciation for her "roughing it" while being a germaphobe. always and forever proud to know that best friend of mine. i wouldn't want to see america with anyone else. now here are far too many photos of three days. and a video for over stimulation. because we got excited and i'm not even sorry about it. 

Posted on October 4, 2017 .

Bad days are not the enemy.

i'm very cold in this photo. can you tell? 

i'm very cold in this photo. can you tell? 

i drove to colorado last week. 

my sweet roommate from college packed her whole life into a pod and crammed her car full of pillows to make the move to denver on her own. she knows exactly one person in denver, and for a girl who didn't grow up moving, this next season of her life has been pretty overwhelming. 

i love marly. (my roommate.) she is such a strong, confident lady. she knows who she is in Jesus and is constantly pushing forward in her walk. i was so impressed she was moving to colorado and when she called at the last minute to see if i could make the drive with her, i jumped at the chance. 

so heres the story. 

we arrived in denver safe and sound and we had one full day before i headed back to nashville. that morning marly had a job interview and i worked from a coffee shop near the school. everything was smooth sailing. life was grand. she had't even cried that day. we decided that we would go to a cute little mountain town for lunch, about forty five minutes from denver. they are famous for pizza and dipping the crust in honey! (sometimes when i'm on vacation i eat the things that my body hates and i'm okay with it.)

the pizza was so good. four probiotics later i was feeling like i was going to make it and we decided that since we were at the base of mt evens, (a fourteener) we should drive up and see if we could find some mountain goats. i love goats and you better believe when we saw them i was freaking out. mountain goats are like goats that go camping. like the REI of goats. i love regular goats but of course i'm going to love mountain goats more...

what was i talking about?

oh yea. so we drove up the mountain and parked the car to get out and look around. the whole drive up was breathtaking! (literally the air is so thin up there...) the aspen trees are gorgeous right now mixed with the dark pines. it was a photographers dreamland. everything was beautiful, it was like a welcome hug from marlys new home. 

then i tried to pull the key out of the ignition and it was stuck.

 i tried to restart the car and it wouldn't start. i cranked it back and fourth and nothing happened. all the lights were working, the car was in park and nothing was happening. you know that saying, "now is not the time to panic?" i think that on top of a mountain, with no phone service and a dead car miiiiiight be the time to panic. i could tell marly was almost there, so i started looking around the parking lot for help. there were some hikers, some bikers and over by the bathroom i finally spotted a rangers truck about to leave. (side not: i definitely should have sprinted for the bikers because the two rangers i brought back to help us were 20 year old pot heads who know a lot about psychedelic art and alligator farms but almost nothing about cars.)

the rangers offered to drive us back down the mountain so we could call a tow truck and after praying (at the top of my lungs) the power of Jesus over this car i finally got the key out. we climbed in the backseat of their pickup and made our way down mt evens while i carried a lively conversation that ranged from forestry work, weird things in colorado, Enslo's (the boy ranger) real name, how marly and i met and donald trump. they dropped us off at the edge of Idaho Springs and waved goodbye with well wishes. 

we walked to the only coffee shop in town and ordered a terrible smoothie. the girl working was so incredibly sweet and gave us suggestions about towing companies and mechanics. she even let us stay while she was closing and offered her kindest regards when we headed to the library next. 

the librarian turned out to be the nicest and when i was telling her of our car troubles she asked if i had called jim yet?!

(que crickets) " i haven't called jim" was the only thing i said before she whipped out her landline telephone and punched in jim's cellphone number. he turned out to be the mechanic and she handed the phone to marly, her new friend. jim just told us to get it towed there and slide the key under the door "or something." 

i'm starting to remember why i love small towns. 

we waited in the library for marly's friend jenni (who had been working all day) and when she got there we wandered down the street to a mexican restaurant where we ate approximately three quarters of a basket of chips, salsa and weirdly enough, coleslaw before the tow truck guy told us he was almost there and we could meet him at the gas station. the waiter wouldn't even let us pay him for the chips but wished us well with our car troubles. 

the gas station smelled like vomit. thats not really crucial to the story, but i thought you should have a picture of three girls walking towards a tow truck with sweaters held over their noses. thats how we met camille. a bag of cool ranch doritos in his left hand, he cleared the front seat as the three of us girls piled in his surprisingly clean cab. an ex army ranger, the owner of the towing company and obviously a dorito lover, camille could have used a shave but he took great pains to be appropriate with the ladies in his truck. we started up the mountain in the dark. 

i'm sure that our buddy is a great driver. thats a lie, i have no idea if he is because driving up a fourteener in the dark at top speed in a tow truck is my only experience with his driving and after almost launching off the side of the mountain at a sharp turn he apologized and slowed way down. i apologized too for peeing on his front seat a little. 

the three of us girls and camille swapped many a story on the way up and he only asked us once if we had been drinking, to which marly replied that she could proudly say "no, we are this much fun all the time." and he thought that was amazing.

we were nearing the top of the mountain when i really started listening to Jesus about the car. the whole day i had this nagging picture in my head of the shifter thingy. the PRNDL if you will. and as we got close to the car i mentioned to camilla that before he towed it, i just wanted to try starting it in neutral. he agreed and when we arrived at the top i tossed him the keys. 

camille got in the dang car put it in fluffing neutral and it started right up. 

i would have been mad but all i could think was that "I GET TO DRIVE MYSELF BACK DOWN THE MOUNTAIN PRAISES." cam explained that marly has a faulty neutral switch and the car hadn't gone into gear so she needed to get that fixed asap. he offered to tow it down the mountain for us to which i shouted no and it left my mouth as "thank you SO much but you know i think i'm just going to drive us all the way home now!"

he graciously followed us down the mountain to make sure we made it safely, snapped a selfie with us and headed home to his wife and dog named assassin. we loved him, wholeheartedly. 

thats a very long story to make a very short point but this is it: when you're having a terrible day and you're not sure if you just royally messed up your whole life and you think its all a sign from Jesus, take a breath and think about the last thing the Lord told you. moving was so hard for my friend. we cried about it in the car, over tacos, and falling asleep. she has wondered many times if this was really what Jesus wanted for her, but he lead, he opened doors and she obeyed even when it got scary. 

we could have looked at her first day in colorado and claimed it for the enemy. we could have thought this was all a sign that she hadn't done the right thing, that somehow she had mistaken Gods leading and that he was trying to punish her. but don't be confused friend, many times those hard days are really sanctification, God working in you to stretch and make you more like himself. if holiness is the goal, we have to go through days that will cause us to make the choices of being christ like or letting the chaos consume. 

i told marly on the way down the mountain that if we had to go through that whole crazy day just so the Lord could show her that when bad things happen in the middle of nowhere colorado, he is going to take care of her no matter what. and sometimes he will use two hippy millennials, a terrible smoothie maker, a yankee librarian with the hookups, a solid friend named jenni, a waiter of tacos, and a tow truck driver that eats doritos for dinner. 

so here's my advice for your monday. don't blame everything on the devil. sometimes God lets the rain fall because he wants you to stand under his umbrella ella ella eh eh eh. keep your eyes on jesus when your car won't start, when your job is sucky, when your friends treat you poorly, and when it feels like a one thing after another thing kind of month. 

i had to drive to denver to be reminded of this truth. and i am thankful. he is so gracious when we forget, and he even lets us see a mountain goat in the middle of it. 

Posted on September 18, 2017 .

Spring Break | I Forgot We Did This...


this past spring we jumped in the car after a long day and drove all the way to the ocean. we then promptly decided we are far too old to be doing such crazy things but the moment our feet hit the sand it was all worth it. 

being in the sun after winter is such a refreshing thing for your cold, pale spirit! and mine was definitely refreshed. we ate bagels and tacos, played on the beach and read books, found some amazing spots to board and i'm pretty sure lived our best spring break lives all in three days. i took almost no photos but there is a ballin video of all the fun we had! 

Posted on August 24, 2017 .

Adventure Take 2

i have a theory that hiking brings people together like no other activity does. its just people, sweaty and gross, surrounded by other sweaty and gross people in the middle of nowhere encouraging each other to the top. 

how beautiful is that? no distractions just sweet company. we went on another hike a few days ago and it was just a little baby one but so many friends that don't know each other well showed up to explore, swim, climb on rocks and sit around to watch the sun go down and see some stars. 

i had so much fun having a ton of little conversations on the hike and snapping photos of beautiful friends making friends! our only casualty was a pair of sunglasses going over the edge so we can call that a win in my book. 

my favorite part of this hike was sitting on top of the bluff watching the thousands of fireflies light up across the river. Tennessee, you beautiful tropical fish. 

who is ready for the next hike?!